Social Media: It’s about the people, not the tools

One of the biggest mistakes businesses make when thinking about social media is that it’s all about the tools — that if only they choose the right software they’ll be a success. That’s about as sensible as thinking your retail business will be successful if only you buy the right bookkeeping software.

Yesterday a client asked:

My friends at [some business] wish to create a social networking section as part of their site, with home pages or profiles for each user. Do you recommend any third party apps for this or a currently operating system?

No, I don’t recommend the tools until I know what the job is.

That question is like being asked, “I want a motor vehicle, can you recommend one?” Before you could answer you’d need to know the requirements. How many passengers? An answer of “6” means a people-mover, not a sports car. An answer of “40” means you need a bus.

Does it have to go off-road? Land Rover time! Does it have to carry 3 tons of bricks? Well, you need a truck, not a car. Do you need to make a social statement with your vehicle? Then maybe you need a Rolls-Royce. Or a Porsche. Or a Ferrari.

Or a packet of Viagra.

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Quote of the Day, 29 January 2008

Overheard in a pub on King Street, Newtown earlier today: “I’m not afraid of mental institutions any more. It’s a free holiday. Free food, free cigarettes — free DRUGS!”

Heath Ledger spikes my website, Day 6

Traffic Graph for 2008-01-29 showing traffic decline slightly reversed yesterday

Yesterday I reported that traffic for The Heath Ledger Experiment had declined across the weekend. Today I can tell you that the decline has been reversed and we’re slightly up again. Across 6 days, we’ve seen a total of 6,407 unique human visitors to the jokes page.

I have no real explanation for this yet, and it may just be statistical noise. Still, my gut feeling is that we’re moving past the initial feeding-frenzy. Perhaps the early visitors are people who actively seek out a forum for this sort of thing, because that’s how they gain the attention they seek. Later, others stumble across the site once those early visitors have seeded it with content.

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